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Emphasize Beautiful Eyes — 8 Easy Tips for Beauty Above Your Mask

Posted on: August 28th, 2020 by Kristen Chang

These days, the way your eyes look and communicate is more important than ever. With a mask covering the lower half of your face, others have to rely heavily on your eyes for clues about your emotional state and identity. At the same time, COVID-19, fire season, and social and political turbulence are causing extra stresses that can be detrimental to the health and beauty of your eyes and surrounding areas, on top of normal signs of aging and damage.

Now ask yourself: are your eyes representing you as you want? Perfecting your smize (smile with the eyes) is a good start, but this is also a great time to help your eyes look their freshest, brightest, and most attractive. There are many effective options that don’t require downtime, so consult with an expert to find the best combination for you and your appearance goals. 

You may start seeing that mask as an opportunity to emphasize your beautiful eyes!

1 – Keep it healthy.

There’s no substitute for good health when it comes to maintaining beautiful skin. If your eyes are puffy, sunken, bloodshot, drab or jaundiced due to poor health, even your best smize may just look scary! 

You’ve heard it all before, because it’s true:

  • Eat healthy food — Regularly provide the nutritional building-blocks for healthy eyes and skin. 
  • Get adequate sleep — Allow your cells enough time to regenerate. 
  • Manage stress — Avoid producing too much of the collagen-destroying hormone, cortisol. 
  • Exercise — Reduce cortisol levels, improve sleep quality, and infuse your body with oxygen to revitalize skin and keep those eyes bright. (Gym closure is no excuse.)

Uh-oh, time to find some new kale recipes and a great personal trainer!

2 – Invest in excellent eye products. 

You might be wondering: can’t I just use my amazing face cream around the eyes too? You could give it a try, but eye creams are generally formulated to be lighter weight and less irritating to eyes and the surrounding skin. They’re also made to address issues unique to that delicate area — where skin is 40% thinner than elsewhere on the face.

When choosing eye products, hold out for high-quality ones that help diminish the appearance of existing concerns while preventing new skin damage. Look for cell-regulating actives like peptides, retinols or stem cells/growth factors to aid in collagen production. Also seek out  ingredients like antioxidants, humectants and ceramides to reinforce your skin’s defenses against free radicals, air pollutants and other stresses. CSI Enriched Retinol Eye Repair Cream, SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair Cream and SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel all contain a good mix of corrective and preventative ingredients.

When you’re out during the day, be sure to further protect your periorbital area from accruing wrinkles and other signs of sun damage by blocking out the rays. Diligently wear full-spectrum sunglasses coupled with a UVA/UVB sunscreen that won’t irritate your eyes or the sensitive skin around them. Try ColoreScience Total Eye SPF 35 to check the sunscreen box, but with the added benefits of a moisturizer and subtle concealer. 

3 – Refresh with tretinoin. 

The queen of the retinoids, tretinoin (otherwise known as retinoic acid or Retin A) has been a favorite for skin rejuvenation for more than 20 years. It works by sloughing off damaged cells and speeding up production of new skin cells and collagen. Numerous studies show that it can reduce fine lines, lighten dark spots, and enhance firmness. Many happy users swear by this vitamin-A derivative to freshen and smooth the eye area, and some report that use on the temples and above the brow has lessened sagging of their upper lids and eyebrows.

You’ll want to take a conservative approach with tretinoin, particularly anywhere close to your eyes, and avoid the upper lids. Talk to your California Skin Institute board-certified doctor about starting with a low .01% or .025% concentration, and increasing the intensity as your skin strengthens. If you experience much redness or peeling, you may figure that it’s just a sign of the tretinoin doing a great job. However, such discomfort and unsightly side effects are not actually necessary to reap tretinoin’s full benefits. So, if your skin looks angry and you’re shedding like a snake, either try diluting the tretinoin with a favorite eye cream or serum or ask your doctor to reduce the concentration.

Tip: if you aren’t tolerating tretinoin close to the eyes at even the lowest concentration, try working up to it with a retinol eye cream.

4 – Calm wrinkles with Botox. 

When the stresses of 2020 are making you look aged beyond your years, you have a friend in Botox. Current events may have you regularly furrowing your brow or squinting in worry, horror or disbelief. Unfortunately, bunching these muscles contributes to deep, lasting wrinkles in the overlying skin. Your eye area may start looking stressed, worried or angry, even when you feel wonderful.*

Force those wrinkle-causing muscles to relax and lie flat with injections of Botox. It gets rid of existing wrinkles, while avoiding new ones by stifling repetitive tensing. The procedure is quick enough to do on a lunch break. Within days, you can start looking smoother and more at ease.* 

Added perk: a number of studies show that Botox may help with depression and anxiety. By eliminating frown or worry lines between the eyes, Botox also rids you of that negative biofeedback.*

5 – Get a lift from dermal fillers.

Over time, natural loss of bone mass and collagen can cause three common changes that are swiftly addressed with dermal filler injections:* 

  • Sunken temples — You can replenish lost temple volume with injections of Sculptra or a thick hyaluronic filler.* 
  • Drooping eyebrows — Applying a medium-weight hyaluronic filler above the brow can raise them up.* 
  • Under-eye circles — Injecting them via cannula (tiny tube) with a hyaluronic filler will decrease their depth. 

Because structures around the eye are so interconnected and complex, treating those three areas with fillers can also alleviate eyelid droop, reduce sagging and fine lines at the outer eye, and brighten the overall appearance of your eyes.*

6 – Lush up your lashes. 

If aging or genetics haven’t left you with scant eyelashes, 2020 may just finish the job. The global pandemic, widespread California fires, social unrest, politics and stay-at-home orders could be contributing to eyelash loss, also called madarosis.* 

Stress, illness, and insufficient levels of exercise and vital nutrients can all wreak havoc on eyelash growth and retention. For one, they can cause the hormones that trigger eyelash growth to plummet. This traps your lashes in the dormant telogen phase of their growth cycle, where they gradually drop off without replacement. Add the free radicals released by California’s fires and the increased likelihood of rubbing your eyes from the smoky air, and it’s a wonder that any Californians have eyelashes at all right now!*

You can help your lashes get more out of their growth cycle by using a serum like CSI Lash Enhance, which combines conditioners, amino acids, peptides and botanicals to strengthen hairs and stimulate growth and fullness. If you want to actually extend the growth phase and longevity of your eyelashes, however, consult a California Skin Institute professional for Latisse. It’s an FDA-approved topical that, after a couple months, results in undeniably longer, fuller, lusher eyelashes.*

7 – Firm up with non-ablative procedures.

Ablative devices, like the Fraxel Repair and Ultrapulse CO2 lasers, vaporize the top layer of the epidermis and stimulate underlying structures. They can do wonders to smooth, firm and even out skin tone. However, they do require some downtime. Non-ablative devices, on the other hand, can also bring noticeable improvement to your eye area but with no recovery time — so you won’t have to cover your entire face in public!*

Non-ablative rejuvenation devices send treatment right past the top layer of skin to deeper dermal layers, where they spur new collagen generation and help remodel skin structure. Applied in the eye area, they can help reduce sagging of the eyebrows and lids and diminish crow’s feet and other wrinkles. Popular non-ablative treatments for the eye area include N-Lite Pulsed Dye Laser, Clear + Brilliant laser, and INTRAcel and Vivace microneedling, which both use tiny insertion needles to deliver radio frequency waves. That’s just to name a few, so be sure to discuss your options with one of our skin experts.

8 – Gently exfoliate. 

A light peel helps brighten your complexion, even out skin tone, and soften fine lines by gently removing dead cells and stimulating cell turnover and new collagen production. This is a nice approach to try if you have very sensitive skin with hyperpigmentation, crow’s feet, rough patches or dullness. For the best results, commit to an optimally timed series of treatments performed by a California Skin Institute professional. *

These top, zero-downtime exfoliation methods are skin freshening, yet gentle enough for the delicate eye area:*

  • Glycolic Acid Peel — Using an alpha hydroxy acid, this is the most common type of aesthetic-grade chemical peel. It also has the added benefit of decongesting pores.*   
  • DermaSweep Microinfusion — DermaSweep works a lot like microdermabrasion, except instead of using crystals that can end up harming your eyes, it uses metal micro-brushes to buff away dead skin. The brushes are adjustable, so your board-certified dermatologist can tailor treatment to each micro-area.*

Exfoliation leaves your skin more vulnerable to sun damage, so remember to beef up protection after treatment.*

Be Seen Right

When you step out with your mask on, your eyes are practically all that anyone sees of your face. Keep your eye zone looking the way you want. You have plenty of treatment options for improving the skin without any downtime depriving you of precious time in public.* 

Willing and able to hole up for a while? Then you may find that COVID-19 and fire-season pollution present an opportune time to go for a more intense procedure to achieve a more dramatic outcome. Requiring varying amounts of in-house recovery time, a deep chemical peel, laser resurfacing, or an eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) or brow lift can give you youthful results that last.* 

Combining the right treatments is key, so talk to a board-certified California Skin Institute expert to identify the best mix for you.*


*Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed.